The Christmas Eve Effect, or as I have been wanting to call it, the Christmas Eve-MOA Effect, is named after the first time my brother and I went to the Mall on the last day of shopping before that holiday the majority of us Americans refer to when we say ‘Happy Holidays’. Of course everyone told us- Are you kidding? It’s going to be so crazy down there!
To our surprise, it wasn’t. In fact, there were probably fewer people than usual when we go to the Mall. But as we realized, there was a perfectly logical explanation for it- so many people were afraid that the Mall was going to be packed, that all those people were noticeably absent. Granted, there are several other reasons for not going to there on C-Eve. There are many fewer sales, less stock of the products many people want, and probably many employees who just aren’t happy to be there. But the lack of hustle-and-bustle more than makes up for that.
(I’ve really realized that it is indeed the thought that counts. I know that I am about the seven millionth person to say that, but I truly think more people could save more money just by thinking more about what their loved ones would actually want. Imagine how that simple philosophy could help the economy if everyone did just get to know their loved ones more. Or follow the Games by James Method™. Just read the last paragraph here.)
I’m not necessarily encouraging always going to the Mall that late in the shopping season, as I usually do, but I merely wanted to shed some light on how not all supposedly super-busy things are going to be that bad. Another example: this past summer, the Greater Los Angeles area was all prepared for an even they were calling Carmageddon. I-405, their major freeway, was undergoing major construction, down to one lane each way through most of the metro. But as it was recapped to yours truly via Twitter and the B.S. Report podcast, it didn’t turn out to be much of anything, mostly due to everyone living in fear of driving at all on that weekend.
To go out on a huge limb here, I predict that this is exactly how the whole Social Security fiasco is going to play out. As SS was always just intended to be a safety net, NOT A RETIREMENT PLAN, that’s what people will end up treating it as again. Maybe they will invest, get confidence in the economy, and have their nest eggs saved up for when they do retire. Or maybe they (and when I say they, I definitely am referring to my generation) will postpone or get rid of retirement completely. Hey, people are living longer and looser, so that could catch on. I just think that with as much as the prognosticators are frantic about it, Social Security might not become as big of a deal as they are worried it will. But I’m no economist.
A couple caveats for this theory, though. People don’t tend to follow this trend when they have either already paid for something, or they plan to. You won’t want to waste a lot of gas on a freeway, but money is a much more tangible measurement of loss. Example: The line for Pirates of the Caribbean 3 was wrapped all the way around the Rosedale Mall. It was filled with people who had paid for their tickets, so there was no way they were going anywhere. Also, this theory only holds as long as the masses don’t find out. Therefore, the activity/event can go on a wavy sine-graph of usage, simply because of how busy people perceive its usage. So don’t let word get out when you do find the Effect at work!